The City of Calgary, 2009 PSC Operational Review Final Report

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1 1. The City of Calgary, 2009 PSC Operational Review Final Report Prepared by Framework Partners Inc. & Emergency Services Consulting International April 20, 2010

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary Preface PSC Overview Operational Review Process The Survey Cross referencing to Operational Review Findings Operational Review Overview of Findings and Recommendations Major Review Area 1: Organizational Findings and Recommendations Services Provided PSC Organizational Structure Staffing, Hiring, Turnover Performance Standards Financial (Operating & Capital Projects) Major Review Area 2: Operational Practices Findings and Recommendations Workload Performance Data / Measurements Position Allocation Operating Policy / Protocols Training Quality Assurance Major Review Area 3: Facility & Technologies Findings and Recommendations PSC Facility Telephone System Computer Aided Dispatch Radio System Position Workstations Recording Voice Logging Equipment Time Synchronization Business Continuity The Recommendations and CPS and CFD Issues Impact of the Recommendations on Survey Results Appendix A: Recommendations by Priority Final Report April 20, 2010 Page i Emergency Services Consulting International

3 List of Figures Figure 1: Core Components in Three Major Review Areas Figure 2: Operational Review Process Figure 3: PSC Staff Expectation Gaps Figure 4: Field Officer Expectation Gaps (CPS and CFD combined) Figure 5: General Satisfaction Top Two Figure 6: Improvement in Grade of Service for and Non Emergency Calls Figure 7: Recommendations that address non emergency calls Figure 8: Recommendations that address fire dispatchers Final Report April 20, 2010 Page ii Emergency Services Consulting International

4 Executive Summary Public Safety Communications (PSC) is a City of Calgary operation that receives, evaluates and dispatches emergency calls and non emergency calls for the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Calgary Fire Department (CFD). It also provides dispatch services within Calgary and portions of southern Alberta for Alberta Health Services ground ambulance operations, as well as fire dispatch services for a number of outlying municipalities. PSC is a product of the recent consolidation of three separate emergency service dispatch and communications centres, which occurred in 2006 (CFD and Emergency Medical Services) and 2007 (CPS). The review was commissioned by the Board of Governors of PSC, and oversight was provided by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from CPS, CFD, Community Services and Protective Services and PSC. It was conducted by Framework Partners Inc. in partnership with Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) over the period July 2009 March Objective and Scope The objective and scope of the Operational Review included the determination of whether PSC is effectively meeting its mandate and the identification of potential service delivery improvements, specifically related to its service to citizens of Calgary and frontline responders within CPS and CFD. The Operational Review required assessment of emergency and non emergency call answer and evaluation, services provided to police and fire first responders in Calgary, and review of the major components of the current PSC service delivery model. Review Considerations The Operational Review was conducted by assessing the practices of PSC in comparison to industry standard best practices and 12 comparable agencies. Each of the comparable agencies is unique in its own way as is The City of Calgary s PSC and an effort was made to compare only applicable practices. While PSC mandate refers only to emergency calls, non emergency calls are deemed implicitly included in the mandate. This is because non emergency calls cover a wide spectrum of calls involving critical, sensitive and important safety issues to citizens, CPS and CFD. Survey Findings The perception of the citizens of Calgary is reflected in a strong and positive opinion of PSC, with 82% of the respondents rating Calgary s emergency response system as either good or excellent. Further, 75% of respondents rated the services provided through the non emergency lines as either good or excellent. This is a difference that is outside of the margin of error and therefore the lower rating for nonemergency calls is deemed to be significant. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 1 Emergency Services Consulting International

5 The response rate for the survey of PSC employees was extremely high at 88%. The response rate for the survey of field officers was also strong at 53% and 55% for the police and fire respectively. At the time of the survey, 34% of PSC staff who responded were satisfied or very satisfied with the services that PSC provides. Further, 43% of police field officers and 31% of fire field officers who responded were satisfied or very satisfied with the services received from PSC. The field officer and PSC surveys indicate concerns related to operational support. Field officers and PSC staff were asked to assess in percentage terms both the level of importance and of satisfaction with ten services provided by PSC (such as the level of dispatcher competence, the level of detail of dispatch information, the timelines of dispatching, the quality of maps). The expectation gap, which measures the difference between the importance and the satisfaction levels, showed in this case a negative expectation gap ranging from 28% to 60% for CPS and from 41% to 69% for CFD. PSC staff have a negative expectation gap for the same group of services ranging from 40% to 72%. While the results of the field officer and PSC staff surveys are indicative of areas requiring improvement, they are compounded by the impact of change brought about by the relatively recent consolidation, including the change of organizational structure, work environment, location, and staff increases, differing supervision, and management. These findings are not unusual or unprecedented in a changing and evolving environment such as PSC. The Operational Review Findings The review proper was conducted on the basis of three major review areas: organizational, operational, and facilities and technology. These areas were divided into 20 major components, which in turn reflect 56 practice areas, all of which were assessed. PSC practices were assessed against best practices according to the following ratings: Meets Specific elements of the best practice are in place. Needs Improvement Partial elements are in place; however further development is required. Does not meet No elements in place. The review resulted in the following assessment: 22 practices meet baseline requirements (39%), 22 practices need improvement and 12 do not meet requirements (22%). Overall Assessment and Strengths Through the course of the review, it was determined: the number of practices which do not meet baseline requirements represent a low percentage of the total and can be addressed; PSC management and staff demonstrated awareness of current operational realities during the site visit and had data available regarding most of the areas reviewed; there have been steady improvements made since consolidation, which occurred in the fairly recent past. As a result of these findings, it can be said that PSC is currently operating in a correct direction, insofar as continuing improvement is maintained and the recommendations made in the Operational Review are carried out. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 2 Emergency Services Consulting International

6 PSC also displayed strengths on which to build for the future. For example, there is an adequate internal management structure, minimal staff turnover, and an adequate staffing plan based on current known services and workload. The efforts made by the staff are very significant and many of the processes required to support PSC are in place. Review Findings and Highlighted Issues An analysis of all the review findings resulted in the identification of 17 deemed as important for consideration by PSC. These 17 findings fall into the following categories: Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) platforms Organizational governance Performance standards, including definition of services provided to partner agencies Policy development and staff training Scheduling and workload Through the analysis of findings, several operational issues emerged as being of key importance to PSC, CPS and CFD. These findings and issues formed the foundation for the review recommendations, discussed later. Improving Grade of Service PSC has shown steady improvement since amalgamation, as evidenced by the Grade of Service performance indicators. Grade of Service shows the percentage of all calls that are answered within a set time. The following figure shows the improvement in Grade of Service for and non emergency calls. Figure 1: Improvement in Grade of Service for and Non-Emergency Calls % Answered Within 20 Seconds YTD 2009 City of Calgary 98.9% 89% 86% 89% 97% EMS % * * * * Fire % * * * * Police % 86% 79% 90%** 95% * Call Data included in the City of Calgary statistics **CPS communications personnel transferred to command and control of PSC Target Grade of Service: 90% of calls answered within 20 seconds % Answered Within 30 Seconds YTD 2009 CPS Non Emergency (ASD) * 48% 49%** 72% Police Non Emergency * 40% 35% 45%** 60% Fire Non Emergency * 90% 89% 91% 94% EMS Non Emergency * 81% 81% 87% 95% Overall Non Emergency * 49% 46% 54%** 67% *No information or document found providing fire and EMS non emergency call grade of service prior to amalgamation **CPS communications personnel transferred to command and control of PSC Target Grade of Service for non emergency calls: 90% of calls answered within 30 seconds Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 3 Emergency Services Consulting International

7 The issue of whether PSC is meeting its mandate cannot be answered easily. Looking at the published mandate for PSC, which only refers to emergency calls, it could be said that PSC is meeting its mandate. However, taking into account the implicit inclusion of non emergency calls, and the fact that nonemergency calls exhibit a lower Grade of Service (as shown in the table above), the answer would have to be that PSC has to improve in order to meet its mandate. Key Service Issues for CPS and CFD The surveys mentioned above allowed individuals to express their personal opinions about PSC operations. Service issues were also identified at the departmental level. Low Grade of Service for non emergency calls are an important issue for CPS. Even though it has improved significantly since PSC consolidation, at 60% of calls under 30 seconds, versus a target of 90% of calls under 30 seconds, this is an area of concern and a high priority for CPS, and constitutes an important challenge to PSC. The average fire call processing and dispatch of Priority 1 (emergency) calls exceed the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard of 60 seconds. This has resulted in the identification by CFD of the need for additional fire dispatchers as an important issue. In order to address both issue areas, several recommendations will need to be implemented. The recommendations that need to be implemented to address each one of these two issues are explained further down. Evolving Organizational Governance While the present governance may have well served the needs of PSC in its earlier and formative stages, it will require adjusting in the future in order to meet the changing needs of it and its partner agencies, and to further guide it towards becoming a best practices operation. The Operational Review findings identify the need for input mechanisms for the client agencies in the governance structure as well as rigour and formality in the definition of services and performance expectations. Separate CAD Systems The existence of two separate CAD systems (one for fire/ems and the other for police) presents an important opportunity for improvement of efficiency and effectiveness in PSC, through consolidation. Also, CPS is impacted by planning activities within the Province for development of an integrated Province wide information management system, the Alberta Police Integrated Information Initiative (API3). Preliminary information provided indicates the API3 has incorporated CAD functionality into the initiative; however, CAD is specific only to the police. Attention must be paid to initiatives which may create difficulties in the sharing of adequate information or in the creation of a common CAD platform at PSC. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 4 Emergency Services Consulting International

8 The two key areas above need for input mechanisms within a cooperative governance structure and CAD consolidation are the subject of specific recommendations. Addressing them will have positive operational and strategic impact. Recommendations The analysis of the findings resulted in 36 recommendations. Sixteen of these recommendations are assigned the highest priority to address the 12, or 22 per cent of, best practice areas where PSC does not meet best practices. Of the 12 best practice areas, five are identified as key to focus on to maintain current levels of public safety: CAD Universal workstations Radio systems Position allocation (workload and staffing analysis) Essential function definition (relevant to disaster planning and recovery) The implementation of the recommendations is expected to contribute to closing the expectation gaps found in the surveys and operational concerns outlined by client agencies. Concerns regarding PSC performance deficits and services provided will gradually change as various recommendations become operational. See Figure 4 for relationship between recommendations and survey results. The Operational Review recommendations will serve to strengthen core areas, providing mechanisms to achieve industry standards of best practice, and respond to the needs of PSC staff and its Client Agencies. The recommendations provide a roadmap for PSC to strengthen its foundation for effective and efficient public safety communications services and to achieve a positive work environment for PSC staff and the Client Agencies, and to better comply with its mandate. The recommendations resulting from the Operational Review are deemed realistic and achievable for The City of Calgary. Many of the recommendations are dependent upon each other, requiring coordination of implementation efforts in order to achieve expected outcomes. They are grouped into three priority levels: Priority 1 Applies to recommendations that address practice areas where PSC does not meet best practices. Sixteen recommendations belong to this group. Priority 2 Applies to recommendations that address programs or processes which will improve the management and operational quality of public safety communications. Ten recommendations belong to this group. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 5 Emergency Services Consulting International

9 Priority 3 Applies to recommendations that address efforts for the long term betterment of PSC. Ten recommendations belong to this group. The following three tables show the complete set of recommendations by priority level. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 6 Emergency Services Consulting International

10 Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 7 Emergency Services Consulting International

11 There are four recommendations of special importance because they enable the implementation of the other ones. They are: Organizational Recommendation #4: Redefine and adjust PSC organizational governance authority and related processes. This refers to the Board of Governors areas of responsibility and input mechanisms for operational and technical input, policy development, development of performance expectations and standards, and technical upgrades and/or requirements. In addition, update and agree on the designation of authority and responsibility of PSC manager. Completion of this recommendation will allow the agency to establish effective communication processes and structure to operate and communicate effectively in the implementation of the remaining Operational Review recommendations. Services Provided Recommendation #1: Develop a standardized agreement and / or memorandum of understanding between PSC and City internal agencies, defining the type and level of services provided. Recommendation #35: Further define essential services to be performed under various failure and/or disaster conditions for the current facility and alternate site. These recommendations define PSC operational requirements and provide the foundation for operational planning based on a more rigorous and formal definition of services provided. CAD Recommendation #30: Initiate planning for integration of the police and fire/ems CAD systems in coordination with API3 planning processes and / or any other records management systems initiatives. This requires appropriate design requirements for functionality, information requirements, security, capacity, and required interfaces for Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) and Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL). This recommendation will increase operational efficiency and effectiveness resulting in important benefits to PSC. How the recommendations address the issues Non Emergency Calls Several recommendations address the situation with non emergency calls. They are indicated in Figure 2. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 8 Emergency Services Consulting International

12 Figure 2: Recommendations that address non-emergency calls Fire Dispatchers Several recommendations address the issue raised by the CFD regarding the right number of fire dispatchers. They are indicated in Figure 3. Figure 3: Recommendations that address fire dispatchers Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 9 Emergency Services Consulting International

13 How the recommendations will address the survey results Specific issues and concerns regarding PSC by field officers and PSC staff will gradually change as the recommended initiatives become operational. Consideration of the survey results, as well as an understanding of the Operational Review assessment will be important for successful implementation of the recommended initiatives. Figure 4 presents a cross reference between the recommendations and the surveyed expectations areas. The intersections show which recommendations will address the expectations in the corresponding column. Improvement and PSC success require that each core area be addressed, as the recommended initiatives are interdependent. Figure 4: How recommendations will address survey results Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 10 Emergency Services Consulting International

14 1. Preface This report presents the results of the Operational Review commissioned by the Board of Governors of PSC. Oversight was provided by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from CPS, CFD, Community Services and Protective Services and PSC. It was conducted by Framework Partners Inc. in partnership with Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) over the period July 2009 March The executive summary of this report is also being released as a stand alone document for those interested in a high level overview of the findings and recommendations. Objective and Scope The objective and scope of the Operational Review included the determination of whether PSC is effectively meeting its mandate and the identification of potential service delivery improvements, specifically related to its service to citizens of Calgary and frontline responders within CPS and CFD. The Operational Review required assessment of emergency and non emergency call answer and evaluation, services provided to police and fire first responders in Calgary, and review of the major components of the current PSC service delivery model. The Operational Review consisted of two major components: The Survey component consisting of surveys of citizens, PSC staff and police and fire field officers; and The Assessment of PSC practices consisting of a detailed assessment of the practices of PSC in comparison to industry standard best practices and comparable agencies. The recommendations will serve to strengthen core areas, providing mechanisms to achieve industry standards of best practice, and respond to the needs of PSC staff and its Client Agencies. The recommendations provide a roadmap for PSC to achieve a positive work environment, and establish a strong foundation to support effective and efficient public safety communications services. Report Organization Section 2 PSC Overview, describes key aspects of PSC at The City of Calgary, such as its mandate, services provided and coverage area. Section 3 Operational Review Process, describes the process that was followed. This applies to the Survey and to the Operational Review components. Standard setting organizations used as a framework for best practices are presented as well as a listing of all the components that were assessed. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 11 Emergency Services Consulting International

15 Section 4 The Survey, presents the results from the surveys that were conducted. Levels of satisfaction from the general population as well as fire and police field officers and PSC staff are presented. Section 5 Operational Review Findings and Recommendations, presents a high level overview of the results from the review, including issues especially important for the Client Agencies. The priority criteria that were used to categorize the recommendations are described. Sections 6, 7 and 8 Major review areas: Organizational, Operational Practices and Facilities and Technology Findings and Recommendations. Each section presents a description of main findings and recommendations by core component. Section 9 explains how the recommendations will help address the important issues for the Client Agencies. Section 10 closes this report by showing how the recommendations are expected to address the survey results. Acknowledgments The Operational Review benefitted from the participation of hundreds of City employees. In particular, PSC staff and police and fire field officers who participated in large numbers in the surveys, provided valuable insights and expectations, whose satisfaction will contribute to better public safety communications. Also, the members of the Steering Committee actively provided oversight and ensured that the review dealt with all the issues of importance to the citizens of Calgary and to the first responders. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 12 Emergency Services Consulting International

16 2. PSC Overview The City of Calgary, Public Safety Communications (PSC) is a tri service (police, fire, medical) communications agency providing service delivery to an estimated population of 1,143,000 residents. Initial planning for the PSC integration began in In May 2003, The Calgary City Council issued the PSC Mandate. In 2002, there were three separate emergency service dispatch and communications centres. To meet its mandate, PSC first co located Communications personnel from EMS and Fire into the Public Safety Communications Centre in March Once co location was complete, the answer point and evaluation process for both Fire and EMS was integrated in May PSC Mandate Improving safety, by coordinating emergency response and providing updates more quickly to citizens and emergency personnel on calls. Enhancing public value and customer service by streamlining calls and dispatching emergency personnel more quickly. Managing the demand of demographic and geographic growth by increasing the City s capacity to handle the expected increase in call volumes, and by enabling Calgary Fire Department (CFD), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Calgary Police Services (CPS) to share costs for infrastructure, technology and support The police communications centre transitioned to the PSC in December Services Provided The City of Calgary and surrounding jurisdictions adopted as the single, primary number to access emergency services. Access is available toll free, 24 hours per day. TTY (Text Teletype) is available assisting callers who have hearing or voice impairments. Language translation for callers speaking in a second language is provided through a contracted language service. PSC is the call evaluation and dispatch centre for all emergency calls for police, fire, and EMS. In addition, PSC serves as an intake and processing centre for non emergency calls to the tri services. Areas Served Services provided by PSC covers a region of approximately 36,000 square kilometres. PSC provides EMS and fire call evaluation and dispatch outside Calgary city limits through interagency agreements. The areas outside of Calgary city limits include 9 Fire Departments and eight emergency medical service Agencies. EMS service delivery is managed and provided by the Alberta Health Services, and fire service delivery outside of the City is provided by local fire departments, with dispatch services provided for both by PSC. In 2009, Alberta Health Services awarded The City of Calgary PSC a contract to continue providing EMS dispatch for the current service delivery area, and begin initiation of a 3 year plan to transition the southern Alberta Region (12 EMS dispatch centres) to PSC for EMS dispatch responsibilities. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 13 Emergency Services Consulting International

17 Workload PSC processes approximately 1 million incoming telephone calls per year (2008 annual incoming telephone workload totaled 973,979 calls) calls represents 46% of the call evaluation workload; 7 digit non emergency incoming calls accounts for 54% of the telephone workload activity. The 2008 dispatch activities total 631,027 events dispatched for police, fire, and EMS. PSC services are provided with staffing levels of 253 positions. Governance The PSC is a business entity within the Community Services & Protective Services Department (CS&PS) in The City of Calgary. Due to the uniqueness of a tri service Emergency Communications Centre, the PSC Manager receives input and direction from a Board of Governors comprised of the CPS Chief of Police, (delegated to a Deputy Chief), CFD Fire Chief, and The City of Calgary s Chief Information Technology Officer. In addition to the Board of Governors, each service (police, fire and AHS) has an appointed liaison to the PSC. This allows the ability to provide input and assure coordination of operational requirements with key day to day PSC operations personnel. PSC Organizational Structure The internal organization structure of PSC provides a grouping of like responsibilities and duties. The areas directly reporting to the PSC Manager include EMS Consolidation Program, Operations, Strategic Services and Systems Support. The Program Manager provides oversight to EMS consolidation and is responsible for delivering on the EMS dispatch contractual obligations with Alberta Health Services. The Operations Manager provides oversight of all processes related to the functional performance as a public safety answering point and is responsible for all personnel providing day to day emergency and non emergency call evaluation and dispatch/response to calls. The Strategic Services Manager provides oversight for operational and strategic support for PSC and is responsible for quality improvement, recruitment, reporting, training and ensuring policies reflect the priorities of PSC, its partners and customers. The Systems Support Manager provides oversight for technical support for PSC and is responsible for the sustainment, development and life cycle of current technology systems as well as technology strategic planning and development. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 14 Emergency Services Consulting International

18 3. Operational Review Process The PSC Operational Review required a determination of whether PSC is meeting its mandate and the identification of improvements for providing emergency response to the citizens of The City of Calgary. The PSC Operational Review required an evaluation of emergency and non emergency call answering and dispatch services provided to police, fire and EMS, and a review of the current PSC operational and technological practices. The PSC Operational Review provides a 360 o degree evaluation of the agency. This was accomplished through surveys, reviews of internal operations and processes, and comparisons to similar agencies. Surveys Market survey instruments were presented to key stakeholders, namely: PSC employees, police and fire field officers, and the citizens of Calgary. The process consisted of: a needs assessment, the design of the survey instruments, administration of the survey, validation through focus groups, analysis, and documentation of the findings. The focus groups provided additional information ensuring the accuracy of the survey results, and provided the opportunity to reach greater depth in the findings. The results from the survey were reviewed against and crossreferenced to those from the Operational Review; allowing for a determination of how the recommendations from the Operational Review could address the findings from the Survey. Many questions were asked in the surveys, which allowed, most generally, to assess the level of satisfaction and the expectation gaps in the stakeholder constituencies. Industry Standard Best Practices Industry Standard of Best Practice is defined as the most effective method of accomplishing a task over any other technique, method, or process. The idea is that with proper practices, a desired outcome is available with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. The operational review compared observations with industry standards of best practice from a variety of sources including: National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Associated Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) 1 The review of industry standard best practices resulted in the identification of public safety communications practices applicable to The City of Calgary s PSC. The analysis and assessment in each one of the practice areas were classified according to the following ratings: Meets Specific elements of the best practice are in place Needs Improvement Partial elements are in place; however further development is required Does not meet Elements are not in place 1 CALEA is the parent organization providing Accreditation for Communication Centres. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 15 Emergency Services Consulting International

19 Partner Agencies / Benchmarking Benchmarking provides the ability to compare agencies with similar tasks and responsibilities to the PSC. The 12 partner agencies used for benchmarking purposes include US and Canadian tri service agencies, providing police, fire, and medical services. The benchmark agencies provide similar services, varying in population and service provider types, however, each is unique in its own way as is The City of Calgary s PSC and an effort was made to compare only applicable practices. All benchmarking agencies are recognized leaders within the public safety communications industry. Standards and compilation of information from the partner agencies provided the baselines for the analysis and comparison of tri service / dispatch agencies to PSC. There are no provincial regulations for PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) in Alberta defining performance or technology requirements. While the noted organizations referenced above have published practices, guidelines, and standards, they carry no regulatory authority. Operational Assessment The assessment was conducted in three major review areas: Organizational, Operational, and Facilities and Technology. These three major review areas in turn, were broken down into 20 core components that contain the essential requirements of a public safety communications agency. Fifty six best practices were assessed within the 20 core components. The core components provide a baseline for the requirements of an emergency communications centre, determining its overall efficiency and effectiveness. They provide a mechanism for the independent assessment and evaluation of the operational capabilities of the PSC. The assessment required data gathering and review, interviews with key operational staff, observations, and a comparative analysis in each of the core component areas against industry best practices and partner agencies. Figure 11 shows the components in the three major review areas. Organizational 1. Vision & Mission 2. Services Provided Organizational Structure Staffing, Hiring, Turnover 5. Performance Standards 6. Financial Figure 1: Core Components in Three Major Review Areas OPERATIONAL REVIEW AREAS CORE COMPONENTS Operational Practices 7. Workload 8. Performance Data 9. Position Allocation 10. Operating Policy / Protocols 11. Training Program 12. Quality Assurance Facility Technologies 13. Facility 14. Telephone Equipment 15. Computer Aided Dispatch 16. Radio System 17. Position Workstations 18. Recording / Logging 19. Time Synchronization 20. Disaster Recovery / Backup It was found that a significant number of the findings and recommendations will have a direct impact, if acted upon, on specific areas identified in the surveys. The recommendations will begin addressing the survey results and closing the performance and expectation gaps identified as most important by those surveyed in the PSC and the field forces. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 16 Emergency Services Consulting International

20 The following Figure 2 illustrates the Operational Review Process. Figure 2: Operational Review Process Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 17 Emergency Services Consulting International

21 4. The Survey Market survey instruments were presented to key stakeholders, namely: PSC employees, police and fire field officers, and the citizens of Calgary. The process consisted of; a needs assessment, the design of the survey instruments, administration of the survey instruments, validation through focus groups, analysis and documenting the findings. The focus groups provided additional information ensuring the accuracy of the survey results, and provided the opportunity to reach greater depth in the findings, not possible in a survey alone. Citizen The survey of citizens was conducted through a random sample of 500, which results in a margin of error of +/ 4.4%, 19 times out of 20. It revealed a strong positive perception of PSC, with 82% of respondents rating Calgary s emergency response system as either good or excellent, and 75% of respondents rating the services provided through the non emergency lines of the Calgary Fire Department and the Calgary Police Service as either good or excellent. PSC Staff The response rate for the survey of PSC employees was very high at 88%. Figure 5 shows that, at the time of the survey, 34% of PSC staff who responded were satisfied or very satisfied with the services that PSC provides. Further, PSC staff were asked to assess in percentage terms both the level of importance and of satisfaction with ten services provided by PSC. The expectation gap, which measures the difference between the importance and the satisfaction levels, resulted in negative expectation gaps, as shown in Figure 3. Figure 3: PSC Staff Expectation Gaps Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 18 Emergency Services Consulting International

22 Field Officers The response rate for the survey of fire and police field officers was also strong at 53% and 55% for the police and fire respectively. Figure 5 shows that, at the time of survey, 31% of the fire respondents and 43% of the police respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the services they receive from the PSC. Further, the field officers were asked to assess in percentage terms both the level of importance and of satisfaction with ten services provided by PSC. The expectation gap, which measures the difference between the importance and the satisfaction levels, resulted in negative expectation gaps, as shown in Figure 4 Figure 4: Field Officer Expectation Gaps (CPS and CFD combined) While the results of the field officer and PSC Staff surveys are indicative of areas requiring improvement, they are compounded by the impact of change brought about by amalgamation, including the change of organizational structure, work environment, location, and staff increases, differing supervision, and management. These findings are not unusual or unprecedented in a changing and evolving environment such as PSC. Figure 5 shows the percentage of positive opinions of citizens about PSC and the percentage of satisfied field officers and PSC staff about the services provided by PSC. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 19 Emergency Services Consulting International

23 Figure 5: General Satisfaction Top Two Cross referencing to Operational Review Findings The results from the surveys were reviewed against, and cross referenced with the findings and the recommendations from the Operational Review. It was found that a significant number of the recommendations, if acted upon, will begin addressing the survey results closing the gaps in the areas that were deemed most important by those surveyed in the PSC and the field forces. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 20 Emergency Services Consulting International

24 5. Operational Review Overview of Findings and Recommendations The operational assessment was conducted in three major review areas: organizational, operational, and facilities and technology. In turn, these areas were broken down into 20 major components, which in turn provided 56 practice areas for evaluation. The assessment was done through comparison with industry standard best practices and with the practices and comparative data from 13 partner agencies. The Operational Review findings identified through the surveys and the operational assessment are not unusual for a communications centre like the PSC. Mergers and consolidations of tri service agencies create significant changes. As an organization, the PSC is still in its infancy. Operational Review findings are not unusual or unprecedented in a changing and evolving environment such as the PSC. Overall Assessment and Strengths Through the course of the review, it was determined: the number of practices which do not meet baseline requirements represent a low percentage of the total and can be addressed PSC management and staff demonstrated awareness of current operational realities during the site visit and had data available regarding most of the areas reviewed; there have been steady improvements made since consolidation, which occurred in the fairly recent past. As a result of these findings, it can be said that PSC is currently operating in a correct direction, insofar as continuing improvement is maintained and the recommendations made in the Operational Review are carried out. PSC also displayed strengths on which to build for the future. For example, there is an adequate internal management structure, minimal staff turnover, and an adequate staffing plan based on current known services and workload. The efforts made by the staff are very significant and many of the processes required to support PSC are in place. The Operational Review recommendations provide direction for establishing effective practices to assure the PSC s ability to achieve efficient and effective delivery of communications services to the public and to fire, police, and EMS agencies. This section presents the findings and recommendations from the Operational Review. It should be noted that many recommendations are interdependent. The Operational Review recommendations will serve to strengthen the core areas, enhancing the ability of PSC to respond to the needs of PSC and its Client Agencies, thus addressing concerns expressed by staff and field providers in the surveys. The recommendations provide an initial direction to achieve a positive work environment and to establish a strong foundation to support effective and efficient public safety communications services. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 21 Emergency Services Consulting International

25 Assessment Relative to Best Practices The following table shows the results from the assessment of 56 practice areas. The analysis and assessment in each one of the practice areas were classified according to the following ratings: Meets Specific elements of the best practice are in place Needs Improvement Partial elements are in place; however further development is required Does not meet Elements are not in place Compliance Number of Best Practices = 56 % Meets Needs Improvement Does Not Meet Review Findings and Highlighted Issues An analysis of all the findings resulted in the identification of 17 deemed as important for consideration by PSC. These 17 findings fall into the following categories: Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) Platforms Organizational Authority Performance Standards, including Services Provided Policy Development, Training Program Scheduling, Workload Through the analysis of findings, several operational issues emerged as being of key importance to PSC, CPS and CFD. These findings and issues formed the foundation for the review recommendations, discussed later. Improving Grade of Service PSC has shown steady improvement since amalgamation, as evidenced by the Grade of Service performance indicators. Grade of Service shows the percentage of all calls that are answered within a set time. Figure 8 in Section 7 shows the improvement in Grade of Service for and non emergency calls. The issue of whether PSC is meeting its mandate cannot be answered easily. Looking at the published mandate for PSC, which only refers to emergency calls, it could be said that PSC is meeting its mandate. However, taking into account the implicit inclusion of non emergency calls, and the fact that nonemergency calls exhibit a lower Grade of Service (as shown in Figure 8), the answer would have to be that PSC has to improve in order to meet its mandate. Key Service Issues for CPS and CFD The surveys mentioned in Section 4 allowed individuals to express their personal opinions about PSC operations. Service issues were also identified at the departmental level. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 22 Emergency Services Consulting International

26 Low Grade of Service for non emergency calls are an important issue for CPS. Even though it has improved significantly since PSC consolidation, at 60% of calls under 30 seconds, versus a target of 90% of calls under 30 seconds, this is an area of concern and a high priority for CPS, and constitutes an important challenge to PSC. The average fire call processing and dispatch of Priority 1 (emergency) calls exceed the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard of 60 seconds. This has resulted in the identification by CFD of the need for additional fire dispatchers as an important issue. In order to address both issue areas, several recommendations will need to be implemented. The recommendations that need to be implemented to address each one of these two issues are explained in Section 9. Evolving Organizational Governance While the present governance may have well served the needs of PSC in its earlier and formative stages, it will require adjusting in the future in order to meet the changing needs of it and its partner agencies, and to further guide it towards becoming a best practices operation. The Operational Review findings identify the need for input mechanisms for the Client Agencies in the governance structure as well as rigour and formality in the definition of services and performance expectations. Separate CAD Systems The existence of two separate CAD systems (one for fire/ems and the other for police) presents an important opportunity for improvement of efficiency and effectiveness in PSC, through consolidation. Also, CPS is impacted by planning activities within the Province for development of an integrated Province wide information management system, the Alberta Police Integrated Information Initiative (API3). Preliminary information provided indicates the API3 has incorporated CAD functionality into the initiative; however, CAD is specific only to the police. Attention must be paid to initiatives which may create difficulties in the sharing of adequate information or in the creation of a common CAD platform at PSC. The two key areas above need for input mechanisms within a cooperative governance structure and CAD consolidation are the subject of specific recommendations. Addressing them will have positive operational and strategic impact. Recommendations The analysis of the findings resulted in 36 recommendations. Sixteen of these recommendations are assigned the highest priority to address the 12, or 22 per cent of, best practice areas where PSC does not meet best practices. Of the 12 best practice areas, five are identified as key to focus on to maintain current levels of public safety: CAD Universal workstations Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 23 Emergency Services Consulting International

27 Radio systems Position allocation (workload and staffing analysis) Essential function definition (relevant to disaster planning and recovery) The implementation of the recommendations is expected to contribute to closing the expectation gaps found in the surveys and operational concerns outlined by Client Agencies. Concerns regarding PSC performance deficits and services provided will gradually change as various recommendations become operational. See Figure 4 for relationship between recommendations and survey results. The Operational Review recommendations will serve to strengthen core areas, providing mechanisms to achieve industry standards of best practice, and respond to the needs of PSC staff and its Client Agencies. The recommendations provide a roadmap for PSC to strengthen its foundation for effective and efficient public safety communications services and to achieve a positive work environment for PSC staff and the Client Agencies, and to better comply with its mandate. The recommendations resulting from the Operational Review are deemed realistic and achievable for The City of Calgary. Many of the recommendations are dependent upon each other, requiring coordination of implementation efforts in order to achieve expected outcomes. They are grouped into three priority levels: Priority 1 Applies to recommendations that address practice areas where PSC does not meet best practices. Sixteen recommendations belong to this group. Priority 2 Applies to recommendations that address programs or processes which will improve the management and operational quality of public safety communications. Ten recommendations belong to this group. Priority 3 Applies to recommendations that address efforts for the long term betterment of PSC. Ten recommendations belong to this group. Appendix A includes three tables with the full listing of the recommendations according to priority. Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 24 Emergency Services Consulting International

28 6. Major Review Area 1: Organizational Findings and Recommendations Services Provided Public Safety Communications (PSC) is a City of Calgary operation that receives, evaluates and dispatches emergency calls and non emergency calls for the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Calgary Fire Department (CFD). It also provides dispatch services within Calgary and portions of southern Alberta for Alberta Health Services ground ambulance operations, as well as fire dispatch services for a number of outlying municipalities. PSC is a product of the recent consolidation of three separate emergency service dispatch and communications centres, which occurred in 2006 (CFD and Emergency Medical Services) and 2007 (CPS). CPS report writing responsibilities transitioned to PSC when the transfer of communications services and responsibilities occurred services are provided 24/7 for voice and TDD, with appropriate translation services offered. Agreements are in place for services provided outside of The City of Calgary; however, no written agreements exist with The City of Calgary internal agencies, defining type and level of services provided. The provision of services by PSC require significant contact, coordination, and responsibility to the field providers, and include the coordination and relay of information received from the citizen, to the field provider, on the street. Findings There are no written agreements in place defining types of services to be provided, between the internal departments of The City and PSC. Responsibilities, expectations, standards, and financial support for PSC are not identified as it relates to 9 1 1, non emergency call processing, and police report functions. CPS command personnel and former CPS communications personnel expressed concerns about call receipt and evaluation in non emergency situations. Calgary Police Services considers the number a high priority for service requirements from PSC. Police non emergency call performance is impacted by report processes requiring longer call duration than those seen in comparable agencies. This is directly related to call evaluators performing data entry and completing report functions not normally associated with police communications functions. The review of PSC historical data (pre/post consolidation), indicates a steady improvement in the performance measures reviewed for all disciplines since the transition to a tri service Final Report April 20, 2010 Page 25 Emergency Services Consulting International

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